Nashua got the fourth most cash of any New Hampshire community from the first phase of federal stimulus money, falling behind Manchester, Windham and Concord.
Nashua, the state’s second largest city, received $16.1 million from 20 different grant programs ranging from $5,005 for an air conditioner and other upgrades at the Nashua Children’s Home to $3.2 million in federal subsidy to children with special needs in the city’s schools.
Manchester received the most, $40.6 million, while the capital city, Concord, got $24.3 million.
Acting State Stimulus Office Director Orville “Bud” Fitch presented an inch-thick, initial progress report on $336 million in discretionary, federal stimulus money that thus far has flowed into the state.
The figures will be updated quarterly, he told the Executive Council at its breakfast meeting on the Manchester Community College campus.
“These numbers are not complete, but I am highly confident that they are up to date,” Fitch said during an interview.
The report also revealed that through the end of June that stimulus money created or saved 796 jobs, with 700 of those state workers who did not have to get laid off thanks to the federal grants, Fitch said.
Federal highway money accounted for 75 jobs and weatherization programs kept or added 16 to the payroll, he added.
Road or building project locale, rather than median income or economic woes, played a big part in communities that received an Obama administration windfall.
For example, Windham is only the 21st largest community in the state with more than 11,500 residents, but it received the second greatest grant total, $27.6 million.
That’s because more than 95 percent of the money going to the town – $27.3 million – is to pay for widening that stretch of Interstate 93 that goes through the town.
Likewise, Concord got $7.6 million to resurface from Exits 14 through 17 on I-93 and claimed as its own many statewide initiatives such as the near-$700,000 grant to create a State Police cold case unit
Nashua received $6.3 million in transportation money, much of it to reconstruct the aircraft-parking apron at Boire Field and make other airport improvements.
Manchester, with 60 grants, got considerably more than Nashua, thanks in part to education grants that were based on the number of low-income students in Title I and students with special needs.
Education money to Manchester ($16.3 million) was more than double what Nashua got ($7.1 million).
Manchester’s grant total ballooned as its 25 grants to low-income housing projects ($6.3 million) were individually named while Nashua’s money pool was initially given only to the Nashua Housing Authority ($1.2 million).
Fitch noted that stimulus money going to programs like the anti-poverty Southern New Hampshire Services Inc. are listed as going to Manchester but spread throughout the southern tier to include Nashua.
Locally, other grant totals thus far included Amherst ($535,959), Hudson ($1.4 million), Merrimack ($1.2 million), Milford ($874,288), Hollis ($450,213), Litchfield ($532,683), Brookline ($146,031), Londonderry ($1.2 million), Lyndeborough ($30,100) Mason ($22,044), Mont Vernon ($57,867), New Ipswich ($482,464), Pelham ($556,246), Sharon ($0), Temple ($0) and Wilton ($177,654).
Within the next week, Fitch said his office plans to have posted in Google map fashion a push pin next to each community the public can click on to find a full listing of all stimulus grant dollars going to that city or town.
Gov. John Lynch praised Fitch, who’s been working on his own since a summer intern went back to school. The Legislature has already approved a 15-month, $2 million budget for the stimulus office that will ultimately have five, full-time staff including a $120,000-a-year director.
“He does a remarkable job equal to the work of a dozen people,” Lynch said.
Article is written by Kevin Landrigan with the Nashua Telegraph in New Hampshire.